As winter arrives in London, Covent Garden transforms into a festive wonderland. Known for its elegant piazza, bustling shops and world-class theatres, Covent Garden exudes charm and vibrancy that’s heightened during the Christmas season.
With the opening of the Covent Garden Christmas Market, it becomes a destination where you can experience the best of London’s festive cheer.
In this article, I’ll provide you with all the necessary details you need for your visit, such as the 2023 dates, opening times and local specialties.
During the festive season, Covent Garden comes alive with an enchanting display of Christmas lights, glittering decorations and a towering Christmas tree that dominates the central piazza.
Adding to the festive spirit, you’ll hear the carols sung by choirs near St. Paul’s Church and street performers adding to the entertainment.
The area is known for staying busy until late into the evening, giving you ample time to enjoy the festivities.
Covent Garden Christmas Market 2023
Right in the heart of London, the Covent Garden Christmas Market thrives with an eclectic blend of luxury brands, unique boutiques and bespoke stalls selling a wide array of gifts and crafts.
Unique to this market is the Apple Market, originally a fruit and vegetable market, now transformed into an emporium for antiques and arts and crafts, especially during the Christmas period.
This Christmas market prides itself on its collection of artisanal food and drink vendors, where you can savour both local and international cuisines.
While you’re there, don’t forget to pay a visit to the London Transport Museum and the Royal Opera House, both situated in Covent Garden.
As I take you through the details of this market, you will find a range of shopping and food options that make it a fantastic festive shopping destination.
Dates and Location
Covent Garden Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 8th November 2023 to 3rd January 2024.
Location: Covent Garden Piazza.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm. Sunday: 12pm to 5pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 8th November 2023.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, plenty of options.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: The 60-foot British grown Christmas tree is decorated with over 30,000 lights, unique luxury gifts, lively street performances.
Recommended tour: West End music and historic pub experience.
Specialities: Freshly baked mince pies, traditional Christmas pudding, unique flavoured chutneys, plant-based meals, craft drinks.
Where to stay: The Henrietta Hotel is located just across from Covent Garden Piazza.
Hotels near Covent Garden Christmas Market
In Covent Garden, you’ll be in an ideal position to experience the full magic of the festive season by staying near the Covent Garden Piazza, where the Christmas market comes alive.
You’ll find an array of hotels in this area that cater to various needs and budgets, all providing easy access to the market and surrounding attractions.
I recommend the Henrietta Hotel, known for its inviting rooms and prime location, which puts the Christmas market at your doorstep.
Location of Covent Garden Christmas Market
To expand your London festive experience, I recommend you check out my extended guide. You’ll see I mention Covent Garden as the best London Christmas Market 2023, but I’ve gathered information on various other markets around the city to help you plan a well-rounded trip.
After exploring London’s Christmas markets, don’t miss the chance to broaden your Christmas market experience across the UK; delve into my detailed guide to the best Christmas markets UK that presents a selection of the top Christmas markets nationwide, each one brimming with festive cheer and unique regional touches.
Christmas in Covent Garden
The video you’re about to watch provides a glimpse into the heart of the Christmas market at Covent Garden. It captures the festive atmosphere, giving you a real sense of the market’s unique appeal.
Christmas Specialties in Covent Garden
Mulled Wine: A quintessential Christmas market treat, mulled wine warms your hands and heart with each sip. The Covent Garden market vendors carefully prepare this festive beverage, infusing red wine with various mulling spices, citrus fruits, and sugar. The result is a warming, aromatic drink that pairs perfectly with the festive atmosphere.
Roast Chestnuts: As you meander through the Covent Garden stalls, you’ll likely encounter the comforting aroma of roasting chestnuts. These treats, gently heated over a charcoal fire, are a seasonal delight. Cracking open the slightly charred exterior reveals a soft and sweet interior, serving as a satisfying and warming snack during your market visit.
Mince Pies: These traditional British pies are a festive staple, and Covent Garden serves them up in spades. Each mince pie is filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices, enclosed within a crumbly buttery pastry. Savour these sweet treats as you explore the market’s twinkling lights and festive decorations.
Vegetarian Sausages: For those following a plant-based diet, numerous Covent Garden stalls serve a variety of vegetarian options. A standout choice is the vegetarian sausages made from a mix of vegetables, grains and legumes. Seasoned to perfection, these sausages are a satisfying alternative to their meat-based counterparts.
Vegan Chocolates: Catering to the increasing demand for vegan treats, you’ll find an array of stalls selling vegan chocolates. These delicacies are made using plant-based ingredients but do not compromise on flavour or texture. It’s ideal for those who adhere to a plant-based diet or want to try a different sweet treat at the market.
Pretzels: Although not uniquely British, pretzels are common at many Christmas markets, and Covent Garden is no exception. Twisted into their distinctive knot-like shape, these chewy, baked bread products are often sprinkled with coarse salt, contrasting the market’s sweet offerings.
Hot Chocolate: To ward off the winter chill, the stalls at Covent Garden also serve creamy hot chocolate. Whether you prefer it topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream or prefer a simple, rich cocoa, the hot chocolate here is a treat to relish as you explore the vibrant stalls.
Ben’s Cookies: This cookie shop, located within the Covent Garden district, is famous for its chunk-laden cookies. During the holiday season, they often introduce a festive twist to their menu, featuring flavours such as spiced orange chocolate chip or cranberry and white chocolate.
The Apple Market: This permanent fixture in Covent Garden is known for its artisanal food stalls. During Christmas, vendors sell holiday-inspired treats like gingerbread cookies, festive preserves and Christmas spiced nuts.
Neal’s Yard Dairy: An icon of Covent Garden, this cheese shop might offer some festive cheese boards or special winter cheese selections, which could make for a delightful Christmas snack or a unique gift.
Petersham Nurseries: While primarily a garden centre, Petersham Nurseries also houses a gourmet deli and wine shop. Their Christmas menu often includes festive treats and seasonal, artisanal products, providing a gourmet exploration of British cuisine.
What to Buy
Handcrafted Ornaments: The Covent Garden Christmas Market is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments. Many of these are handmade by local artisans and feature traditional British designs. You can find decorations made from a variety of materials, including glass, wood and metal. These make a beautiful addition to any Christmas tree or can serve as a special holiday gift.
Luxury British Beauty Products: Known for its array of high-quality cosmetic and beauty stalls, Covent Garden offers a wide range of locally made beauty products that make perfect stocking fillers. Brands like Molton Brown or Neal’s Yard Remedies often have special Christmas gift sets that include their top-selling products.
Tea Blends and Sets: Covent Garden, and indeed London, is known for its love of tea. Several vendors sell luxury tea sets and special festive blends that are exclusive to the Christmas season. These can range from classic British favourites like Earl Grey to more unique blends like spiced apple and cinnamon.
Artisanal Foods: Covent Garden has a strong food culture, and at Christmas, it only intensifies. You can find a variety of artisanal foods that are great gifts. Options include flavoured gin from London distilleries, jars of luxury preserves, and festive hampers packed with local goodies from Neal’s Yard Dairy or Petersham Nurseries.
Handcrafted Leather Goods: Leather goods are another specialty you’ll find at Covent Garden’s Christmas market. There are stalls selling high-quality leather items such as wallets, belts and handbags, often handmade by local artisans. These items can make thoughtful and enduring gifts.
Christmas Jumpers: No British Christmas is complete without a festive jumper. Several stalls sell these seasonal garments in an array of designs, from traditional fair isle patterns to ones featuring humorous holiday puns. Picking up a Christmas jumper here could become a cherished holiday tradition.
Books from The Moomin Shop: Located in Covent Garden, this shop dedicated to the beloved Moomin characters from Finnish literature offers a variety of gifts. During the festive season, you might find Moomin-themed Christmas books, puzzles or advent calendars, ideal for younger visitors or those young at heart.
To enrich your Covent Garden visit, you might want to consult Visit Covent Garden; their resourceful platform can guide you through an array of activities, from cultural sightseeing to unique events, ensuring you make the most of your stay in this vibrant part of London.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
While soaking up the festive spirit in Covent Garden this Christmas, we can all contribute to a more sustainable travel experience. Here’s how:
Staying in Eco-friendly Hotels: It’s a good idea to stay in hotels that actively pursue sustainability. For instance, one that uses renewable energy sources and has established sustainable operational practices to reduce its environmental impact.
Reducing Food Waste: The temptation at the Christmas market is to overindulge, but remember to only order what you can eat. Many food stalls will serve smaller portions upon request, helping to minimise waste.
Ethical Consumption: Covent Garden’s Christmas Market is a treasure trove of delights, but it’s wise to only purchase items you genuinely need or will use. For instance, you might choose a handcrafted decoration from Stanley’s Christmas Village that you’ll treasure year after year instead of mass-produced ornaments.
Sustainable Diets: Opt for plant-based or vegetarian options where possible to reduce your carbon footprint. The market often features vendors offering delicious plant-based foods, like the Gourmet Vegan Stalls, providing delicious meat-free alternatives.
Sustainable transport: Covent Garden is well served by public transport, with nearby tube stations and numerous bus routes passing through. Consider using these methods to get around rather than relying on taxis or rideshares. Alternatively, Covent Garden is centrally located, making it an easy and enjoyable walk from many other popular London destinations. Walking reduces your carbon footprint and allows you to enjoy the city’s festive decorations and atmosphere at a leisurely pace.
The Covent Garden Christmas Market starts on 8th November 2023 to 3rd January 2024.
The Covent Garden Christmas Market is located in the heart of Covent Garden, in the historic Piazza. It’s surrounded by a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants and theatres, adding to the festive atmosphere.
The Christmas market in Covent Garden opens Monday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm. Sunday: 12pm to 5pm.
Covent Garden can be quite busy during the Christmas season, especially on weekends and in the evenings. However, the festive atmosphere and beautiful decorations make the experience enjoyable despite the crowds.
Covent Garden often hosts a variety of Christmas events, from the famous annual switching on of the lights to live performances and carol singing. Be sure to check the Covent Garden official website for the latest events schedule.
Absolutely! Covent Garden at Christmas is a wonderful experience for the whole family. The market is full of festive cheer with street performers, traditional food stalls, and plenty of child-friendly activities to entertain the little ones.
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Covent Garden, London. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.